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Brandeis University's Community Newspaper — Waltham, Mass.

Conservation efforts: AMST 191 works to protect Sachar Woods

Published: October 20, 2006
Section: News

As part of a classroom initiated project, students from Professor Laura Goldins course Greening the Ivory Tower (AMST 191b), planted blueberry bushes behind the Sachar International Center in an attempt to slow erosion and preserve the state of the Sachar Woods wetland. Children and caretakers from the Lemberg Childrens Center and members of Brandeis Facilities Services also participated in the project.

We are planting forty high-bush blueberry bushes and other native species around the wetland behind Sachar to create a protective buffer area that will prevent moving, slow runoff, or erosion into the wetland, said Professor Goldin. This is the culmination of case study we did a bit earlier in the semester, which looked at everything from the environmental value of wetlands and vernal pools as natural resource areas to the public policy, legal, stakeholder and other issues and processes involved.

In order to put its preservation plan into action, the class first had to receive permission from the town of Waltham.

The students applied for formal Wetlands Act approval, and presented the proposal to the Waltham Conservation Commission at its hearing last week, to the commission's rousing approval, said Professor Goldin, adding that to the student's surprise, they were televised live on the Waltham TV cable channel.

Members of the class wholeheartedly supported the project, and lauded ample praise onto Professor Goldin and the way she conducts the course.

We lobbied for it, said Elizabeth Ginsburg 08. [The project] was fabulous, and it serves to protect the wetlands. She continued, saying that its a very hands-on class that allows us to make ideas an actuality, especially on the Brandeis campus.
Adrienne Bellanich 07 agreed, saying that its a whole teamwork thing, a whole group effort. Everyone does a little bit, but it becomes this huge project. Bellanich also said that she has taken many courses with Professor Goldin. Shes a very inspirational professor.

Professor Goldin noted that this project continues in the tradition of student projects from prior Greening class years, [which were] to preserve the wetlands behind Goldfarb and to educate about and identify the special natural resource area with an informational plaque, next to the library on the way down to Volen.

Limor Weizman 07, a student involved with the project, added that a few years ago in this class, students planted blueberry bushes behind the library to protect the marsh, [because] the lawn keepers would mow too close to the water and would kill important vegetation.

The first time that Greening the Ivory Tower was offered in its present form was Fall 2002, and the preservation project began when Professor Goldin looked around campus and saw that people werent paying attention [to on-campus environmental issues], but at the same time the administration and facilities were worrying. Before 2002, AMST 191b was entitled Environmental Research Workshop.

Professor Goldin is a member of the Brandeis Environmental Sustainability Team (BEST), which she credits as having a serious effect on campus, and she praised SEA which collaborated with AMST 191b on the wetlands preservation project – the faculty, and residence life for their continued promotion of environmental issues on campus. She also commended Dennis Finn of Facilities Services, saying that Dennis has been a big player and invaluable partner with the class in this effort. He has generously provided advice and tools to borrow, and we could not have accomplished it without him.